From my first experience, it does seem to be whole lot faster than iTunes < 11. I also like interface more.
What's especially irritating about this is that modal preferences dialogs with 'Ok'/'Cancel' buttons have been discouraged since, as far as I'm aware, the 10.0 HIG.
When has Apple followed their own HIG?
I do like the new dynamic background and highlight colours when selecting albums and tracks in the Album view.
It does seem like they removed the ability to open multiple windows though, which I always activated by mistake instead of on purpose.
Looks like a coat of paint, nothing more. They are always so tantalizingly close to radically rethink everything. But they don’t seem to dare, and that’s sad.
I have a huge library--~63000 songs; I'm a musician--and although iTunes 10.7 search was quite reasonable, the new iTunes takes several seconds to do anything after typing a query. Even if I turn off "Search Entire Library" (so that it only searches the active screen, like Music) it is incredibly unresponsive. I'm talking ~6 seconds for the UI to update and the program to become responsive again. If I limit the search to only one field (e.g., Composer) it is faster, but still substantially slower than iTunes 10.7 (~2 seconds for the UI to update, compared to the previous results of nearly instant), and it makes the search much less useful.
Closing the Column Browser speeds up filtering, though it's still slower than 10.7.
There's clearly something up with the coding of the Column Browser.
I still wonder why Apple doesn't use their $100 billion to get some A-grade software engineers. Steve Jobs used to boast about A-level players and all that. But current mess that iTunes is can't be from A-level players.
And don't even get me started on Safari for Windows. Apple just seems to have dropped ball completely on it!
People smart enough not to get anywhere near iTunes?
(really, would you trade clang or kernel dev for that?)
In fairness, though, the iTunes client team is a lot smaller than most people probably realize. Problems with the software are almost certainly the fault of management trying to do more with less, and not the competence (in my experience, extremely high) of the individual devs.
Granted, iTunes 11 is an improvement but it's still not very different from iTunes 10!
There's no sidebar for quick access to things, you have to click album art to select a song, etc. It's a very large UI departure. You can return it to more normal though by viewing by "song" and then selecting View > Show Sidebar.
Go to View => View Options… (or hit Command-J).
The most interesting update to me is iTunes Match: http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-match/
Or listening to music, selecting a much of tracks, and throwing them in the queue, without the hassle of creating a playlist ahead of time.
It has been months since I last used iTunes.
I'm not down on Spotify - I am a customer, as well. But don't pose it as the solution to actually possessing a music library. If all you do is listen to your music on earbuds, it's just fine. The moment you want to do more with it, you're stuck.
http://www.enqueueapp.com/ (No affiliation)